As I enter the world of personal finance and the debt free community I find my blog title and Instagram handle free.as.a.weed name not so money related, like many others, and sometimes hard to relate to!
I’d like to take this as an opportunity to explain what Free As A Weed means to me, because it’s more than financial freedom! Financial Independence is of course the ultimate goal, but as many of us in the personal finance world already know, FIRE is more than money. It’s the capabilities to pursue the life you want to live, not the life you have to live.
- Free of Societal Norms
I know I’m not alone when it comes to wanting to live smaller, more minimalistic, debt free, and be a family with no kids, but damn does society do a good job of making you feel that way! We are different in that we have really strong beliefs about maintaining our life outside of debt and that is not necessarily something the average American will agree with because debt is so the norm. When we obsess over paying cash for items or increasing our 401K contributions, it’s in order to support our future selves, but society sees it as money hungry, greedy, and obsessive. Sorry, I’m tired of blowing my money on clothes I Marie Kondo sixth months later.
Self Affirmation: There is plenty for everyone, including me.
Societal expectations to have children — I am forever grateful I have two parents who do not place pressure on us to have kids. They allow us to make an executive choice to not have children, but also remind us they sure are glad they had my sister and I! I’m sure children would make life a bit more interesting, but as we see it now, it’s not in our future. Now coworkers, is that a different story! Unreal how many times I hear “I didn’t think I wanted them either” or “you’ll change your mind” or “when are you guys thinking about having kids?” Oh were not! GASP!
Free As A Weed is about accepting you don’t have to follow suite of getting married, buying a house in the suburbs, and then having 2.3 babies because those who you’ve grown up with your whole life are experiencing those exact steps!
2. Freedom to Travel
Wow, this will forever change when we are financially independent! But we most certainly take advantage of our vacation time when we can now. Traveling is a big part of our WHY. Not being constrained to an employer’s vacation policy or feel guilty while gone from work only to come back to a madhouse of to-dos. My husband and I are currently both W2 employees with 2-3 weeks of vacation per year and what a drawback that is! We want to explore the world, travel through Europe more, see Greece and those beautiful white buildings, and to some extent we can right now, but on a very limited schedule. At the holidays we spend our vacation time back in the Midwest to see our families, so the other week off work is delegated to a big trip, but at week’s time and no more.
I know I will truly be Free As A Weed when I can leave on a Tuesday to visit my sister and her kids at any given time, and stay till the following Thursday should I choose to. I know I will truly be Free As A Weed when we do not have to book fast travel Saturday to Saturday, paying the highest flight prices, trying to cram in all tourist activities in the given 7 days, but to be a slow traveler spending weeks soaking ourselves into a new culture and living more like the locals. That to me is freedom. That to some is a millennial mindset, but who’s to say who is right!
3. Freedom to Move at Any Given Notice
And just like that 3 years ago next month, we took a trip of a lifetime and moved ourselves down south to the magical New Orleans, LA! I was working at an unfulfilling job as a social worker and my husband was offered a job with his present company to move here as a promotion! When we both realized we were on board with leaving all we knew behind to take this journey, we never looked back! We left both of our families, friends, and safety. But we decided to jump! I, of course would give up my career as a social worker to move, but turns out I didn’t love social work to begin with, so it was a choice I chose to move forward with! Free As A Weed means being able to pick up and move should we choose to, or an offer be presented to us. Without having children, we would leave nothing behind again should we leave NOLA. Other than of course the memories and friendships, but I believe those who are supposed to be in your life will remain in your life.
We choose to rent here, well for several reasons, but one reason being we know this isn’t our forever home either. Should we stay one more year or 4 more years, we really don’t know but we are open for opportunity to take us elsewhere and to me that is freedom.
4. Freedom of an FU Fund
Not saying I am quitting my job in the near future, but knowing I can sure does make me feel powerful. In all honesty, I don’t need my job. I know most people can’t say that, but should we need to or want to, we could easily reorganize our goals, and live comfortably off my husband’s income. Being debt free has provided us the luxury to aggressively save. Not owing anyone money other than the bills we choose to pay provides us with a sense of freedom.
I choose to work because we have monetary goals for our family of two that I would like to contribute to. I choose to work because I feel I have value I can offer to an employer. I choose to work because I do well in a structured environment. I choose to work because we like nice things. I choose to work for the social environment it provides. I choose to work because I don’t want to be 100% dependent on my husband’s money. I choose to work to help us get closer to our FI number. And I will continue to choose to work at a W2 employer until I can maintain enough streams of passive income where we both don’t have to work.
With that being said, had my boss not recently allowed me to go on a trip my husband won for us through his employer, the alternative would have been to quit, and that my financially savvy friends is the power of an FU Fund!
5. Freedom to Say No
Remember when I talked about not living the life society expects? Sometimes that means saying no and the freedom it gives! Do you ever feel like you say yes to things because it’s an expectation? Like that wedding you still can’t figure out why you were invited to, but now feel a sense of obligation to attend? Or to send another gift for someone’s 5th baby just because it was born?
Invites, parties, gifts, showers, you name it, have become so excessive and at some point I just can’t! Moving away from friends and family has yes made this easier to decline invites, but it’s also is powerful to be able to say no. That out of town wedding…could I afford it? Yes. Would paying for that align with my monetary goals that month? No! So I politely declined and sent a gift. Automatic savings of at least $600! I’m tired of saying yes to everything! Being Free As A Weed to me means to live the life you want to live, not someone’s expectations of you! Remember no is a full sentence.
6. Freedom to Say Yes
Recapping from the previous segment, Free As A Weed to me means to live the life you want to live, and not someone’s expectations of you, and that means I can say YES to things I want to do! Being on a budget does not mean I do not allow for a lot of entertainment in my life! For example, I was recently invited to Vegas to surprise my best friend for her 30th birthday and being able to say yes provided excitement to my life! I didn’t feel guilty for spending the money because I simply budgeted for it and thoroughly wanted to go! Being debt free and saving aggressively has allowed for us to be able to say Yes to Life without the financial worries that often follow! Saying Yes To Life doesn’t always mean a lavish trip, but if that’s what brings you joy then I want you to take that trip! We live life on our own terms and to me that is freedom!
7. Freedom to Be Lazy
There I said it! Sometimes we are lazy AF and that’s okay. Being debt free, we don’t have to worry about the constant hustle all the time! We are far enough along in our journey to financial independence that it’s okay to binge watch Netflix for a whole weekend as long as we don’t maintain those habits on a repetitive basis. This I realize is privilege. I see you all in the Debt Free Community straight hustling, and I see that it is exhausting, so I recognize this privilege.
I started this blog as I recongized I have the time to add another stream of income and my ultimate goal is to continue to work on this with consistency. This also helps dictate where my time is spent in order to prevent lazy habits, but in all honestly it’s easy to put it on the back burner when I want to binge “The Office.”
Free As A Weed promotes The Power of Choice! The common denominator of all of my meanings, is choice. Money cannot buy happiness, but it most certainly can provide you with the choices you want to make in order to live your most fulfilling life. Ask yourself today, what is happiness to you. Then ask yourself, are you able to make any changes now that will allow you to reach your happiness radar faster! We shouldn’t all be living a life that doesn’t spark joy. We should be asking ourselves what can we do now in order to create the life I want!